Hacking MyBlogLog

Posted by joy

I’ve been using MyBlogLog heavily for the past week and there’s a few interesting things I’ve noticed about the service.

Observations

  • Since being active on the site nearly a week ago, I’ve had over 460 new visitors to cleverhack, with 56 viewing my about me page (which, if I think about it, is probably as many clicks as I get to my about me page in 90 days).
  • I have seen a number of visitors who, in marketing parlance, have converted to regular readers and RSS users.
  • I’ve noticed two types of accounts on MyBlogLog, your normal user accounts and accounts representing a Web site or brand ( I’m thinking Zillow, Buzz Tracker and Dogster and the like…)
  • This blog is in the Top 50 “C” Communities.
  • I’ve seen some good SEO from MyBlogLog (the cleverhack MyBlogLog page is currently #4 when searching on cleverhack.)

What I’d like to see and other issues

  • I like using the My Communities page to browse blogs. What I’d like to see is if you’re logged in, and looking at your “community” of blogs, to be able to click through to the blog rather than to the blog profile page.
  • User profile page should have RSS feeds of the users blog(s).
  • The Hot In My Communities widget on the user profile page doesn’t seem to update all that much.
  • I don’t understand why I would have to manually create a screenshot of my blog’s page to update the screenshot on the service.
  • Blog profile page should have RSS feeds of the blog higher in the right hand column. (Right now, the RSS feeds are shoved down at the bottom).
  • I’d love to see some sort of random show of blogs on the MyBlogLog Community page.
  • I’d love to see some sort of random show of members on the MyBlogLog Members page.
  • I don’t know what exactly makes a member “hot” or a blog “hot”.
  • The blog stats features are kinda cool but are dependent on javascript (meaning that people using non-javascript enabled browsers won’t be counted).
  • Aside from the extra blog stats features, what is the value proposition for a Pro Membership?

How to take advantage of MyBlogLog

  • Click through to the MyBlogLog front page often, that way you show up in the Recent Readers widget. I do see traffic coming in that way.
  • Check out other people’s profiles and their blogs. They will usually reciprocate.
  • There is some traffic value in belonging to the hot communities, although I’d expect the advantage to diminish as more people belong to those same communities.
  • Be female. (Whoops, my bad, said that out loud.)
  • Use a photo of yourself as your avatar. The better the photo, the better the response.
  • Join communities but avoid becoming the dude who joins everything.
  • Feel free to ignore contact requests if they aren’t a good fit.

Oh, and googling for mybloglog brought up this 10 Hottest Clicks map.

[tags]web 2.0, mybloglog, blogging, blog community, not quite hacking [/tags]

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9 Responses to “Hacking MyBlogLog”

  1. Eric Marcoullier Says:

    Joy — Awesome post! I’m going to link to it from our official blog to try to send some more people your way. Our users would benefit from seeing this. I hope you don’t have a problem with long comments, because I’m going to try to address your suggestions one at a time:

    * I like using the My Communities page to browse blogs. What I’d like to see is if you’re logged in, and looking at your “community” of blogs, to be able to click through to the blog rather than to the blog profile page.

    Awesome idea — we should do this.

    * User profile page should have RSS feeds of the users blog(s).

    Interesting idea. We’re not interested in competing with feedreaders as they are always going to do a better job of innovating than we can, but it might still be worth creating this sort of view. We’ll noodle on it.

    * The Hot In My Communities widget on the user profile page doesn’t seem to update all that much.

    We have time scheduled in the next couple of months to make this better. Sometimes it’s really spot on and sometimes it seems a bit flaky. If nothing else, it’s a promise of something cool to be delivered in the not too distant future.

    * I don’t understand why I would have to manually create a screenshot of my blog’s page to update the screenshot on the service.

    New sites should automatically get a screen shot with in 24 hours now. We’re working to improve that speed to instantaneous and we’d like to enable users to click a button to capture a new screenshots of their blog sometime in the future. That said, we especially like our members who put something other than screen shots up. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what image best describes what your blog is about?

    * Blog profile page should have RSS feeds of the blog higher in the right hand column. (Right now, the RSS feeds are shoved down at the bottom).

    We haven’t considered that our users would use us as a feedreading substitute. Do you find yourself checking out updates to your communities’ blogs via our RSS feeds?

    * I’d love to see some sort of random show of blogs on the MyBlogLog Community page.

    * I’d love to see some sort of random show of members on the MyBlogLog Members page.

    We’re talking about overhauling those pages — we’ll add this to the discussion.

    * I don’t know what exactly makes a member “hot” or a blog “hot”.

    It’s an interesting dilemma that people smarter than us are facing. Check out digg — transparency is a critical part of building a loyal userbase, but it also gives people a direct blueprint for gaming the system.

    * The blog stats features are kinda cool but are dependent on javascript (meaning that people using non-javascript enabled browsers won’t be counted).

    The percentage of browsers lacking javascript support is low enough that it’s likely to fall into the “reasonable statistical errors” category. Dedicated tracking services like Sitemeter also take the javascript approach, so at least we’re in good company :) What would be great is if we can provide a non-javascript solution for people on MySpace and LiveJournal and the like, who would love to see their recent readers.

    * Aside from the extra blog stats features, what is the value proposition for a Pro Membership?

    Pro Membership is predominately for 1) people with well-trafficked blogs who want to see the long tail of their site usage and 2) stats junkies who crave real-time stats. We have a couple of other Pro-only features, like changing time zones, but Pro really boils down to “all the stats in realtime”.

    BTW, there’s one more way that you can get the most out of MyBlogLog. By putting your recent readers widget on your permalink pages, you highlight your community to all the people who come to your site via search engines. Many of these people go directly to a permalink page and then immediately exit via a link on that page.

    Thanks again for your commentary and suggestions. You’re a great addition to MyBlogLog’s community.

  2. joy Says:

    Eric, thanks for responding and I will throw a few ideas back at you…

    -The whole RSS feed idea (both raising the RSS box on the blog page and adding the RSS box on the user profile page) originated because I feel like I don’t get to read enough about the person and or blog before clicking through to the blog in question. More often than not, users haven’t filled out their profile page or their blog information page.

    -Also, I think I would click through to a blog if I saw something interesting on their RSS feed. (Believe it or not, even though I write and promote the use of RSS, and most of my own - very technically oriented - blog readers come through via RSS, I don’t use a standalone reader. I like seeing each page’s design.)

    -Of course I was wondering about how users or blogs are considered hot. C’mon, I do SEO in a professional setting. :-) Again, probably the whole gaming the system won’t be such a big deal until the userbase becomes larger.

    -On using stats, I’m an outlier as I have a few other stats programs as part of my hosting package. Not everybody has that, I know. At the very least, maybe screenshots of the provided stats or something like that would entice people?

    I guess what I am thinking out loud about, ultimately, is how sticky the site will be. For me at least, I could see myself during my daily routine by passing my own blogroll and logging into mybloglog, having my IM automatically show I’m available, and then using mybloglog to browse other people’s blogs from.

  3. fluffy Says:

    I’m not quite sure I “get” this site. It seems like Myspace, except with externally-slurped RSS feeds instead of hotlinked background images, and some sort of subscription fee after 3 days.

  4. joy Says:

    Fluffy, the site itself is free and the only pay part is the Pro Stats.

    The whole idea of the site is to build a community around your blog. You can set people as contacts and/or you can join a community for a particular blog.

  5. arip Says:

    hohoho..i’m too new about blogging….you do great…

  6. Scott Rafer Says:

    @ fluffy — What we’re trying to do is let bloggers bring some of the benefits of MySpace onto their own sites. We’re got other features on the way that will hopefully make that even clearer and better.

  7. Scott Rafer Says:

    @joy — Eric is on a plane, so I’m jumping in to respond. In the format he set …

    -The whole RSS feed idea (both raising the RSS box on the blog page and adding the RSS box on the user profile page) originated because I feel like I don’t get to read enough about the person and or blog before clicking through to the blog in question. More often than not, users haven’t filled out their profile page or their blog information page.
    -Also, I think I would click through to a blog if I saw something interesting on their RSS feed. (Believe it or not, even though I write and promote the use of RSS, and most of my own - very technically oriented - blog readers come through via RSS, I don’t use a standalone reader. I like seeing each page’s design.)

    It seems the goal is making your click to their blog less of a mystery. By way of brainstorming, would it help if we displayed their most popular blog posts rather than the most recent? It might give you a better idea why people read them.

    -Of course I was wondering about how users or blogs are considered hot. C’mon, I do SEO in a professional setting. :-) Again, probably the whole gaming the system won’t be such a big deal until the userbase becomes larger.

    Gaming’s already an issue, sorry.

    -On using stats, I’m an outlier as I have a few other stats programs as part of my hosting package. Not everybody has that, I know. At the very least, maybe screenshots of the provided stats or something like that would entice people?

    We had that up until we did the latest site redesign/simplification. Maybe we over simplified. Maybe “Including your own” on our homepage should be a hyperlink to a reporting description with screenshots.

    I guess what I am thinking out loud about, ultimately, is how sticky the site will be. For me at least, I could see myself during my daily routine by passing my own blogroll and logging into mybloglog, having my IM automatically show I’m available, and then using mybloglog to browse other people’s blogs from.

    And we’d love to deserve that much of your time. For showing you are online, should we move the Yahoo Messenger yellow smiley face up next to your profile shot. You current allow everyone to see it on your profile, but it’s at the bottom of the page.

    Thanks for your suggestions and support so far.
    Scott

  8. joy Says:

    Scott (and Eric), not a problem, I have to hop on a train myself in a few hours to go to NYC for a technology focused marketing conference. Hopefully I can grab some wifi when I settle in later.

  9. Patrick Says:

    Your observations are very interesting… I just wanted to add my cheer for MyBlogLog to your comments section. :)
    I’m a bit of a newbie to the blogging world, and I like the implicit feedback that comes from the little pictures in the MBL feeds. ;)

    Thanks for the interesting blog entries!

    Patrick

    http://infoeng.blogspot.com
    http://rothbardix.blogspot.com

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